The older, wiser Christians in my life are eager to see the world transformed by the redemptive power of the gospel. For them, the words of Jesus are not simply greeting card words, but rather, marching orders. It’s so refreshing to have friends in their seventies who are willing to start new things in an attempt to reach lost people. They are on mission and take The Great Commission seriously.
I have spent several years observing the elderly in hopes of gleaning some wisdom about the aging process. I think a definition of “elderly” should be more intricate and beautiful than age alone. We should avoid saying the thing so many of us say, that is, an elderly person is an old person. I couldn’t disagree more.
I have noticed two types of elderly people: those who are on mission and those who are not. My hypothesis is those who lived their youth with daily surrender to Jesus live their later years with holy expectancy and joy; while those who lived their youth for anything other than Jesus burn out when their life goals, for better or worse, end.
When our eyes are fixed on that beautiful country God promises to all who trust in him, age cannot deter us from radical joy. I’m grateful for the older friends I have who teach me the importance of surrendering to Jesus through their actions and words. When I observe their life, I notice several things.
First, they recognize the brevity of life and use their time for Christ-exalting, redemptive work.
How many of us spend our years exalting ourselves and putting our own agendas before Christ’s? I have spent more time building my own kingdom than I’d like to admit. Honestly, it’s an exhausting and miserable way to live. I want to be more like my friends who understand life is not about them.
C. T. Studd penned the famous words, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
My wiser friends have learned these words well and practice them daily. Long gone are the days of making a name for themselves. Their one desire is to make much of Jesus and, when they meet him face-to-face, hear those beloved words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Oh, how I desire their obedience and faithfulness. How I long to one day hear those words myself.